A form of facial paralysis often characterized by a weakness or numbness of the muscles on one side of the face, Bell’s palsy has no clear, proven cause, although studies are now showing it may be caused by the herpes simplex virus and unofficially due to stress. This, along with its sometimes dramatic symptoms, makes Bell’s palsy potentially a very frustrating and even alarming condition. It can be a very difficult condition to diagnose, so it is important to do thorough research if you suspect you or a loved one may be suffering from Bell’s palsy. Here’s a brief overview of the condition.
1) What is Bell’s palsy exactly? Bell’s palsy is the often very rapid onset of the facial weakness and paralysis of one side of the face aka severe drooping; due to damage to the nerve that controls facial muscles. This nerve damage may not only cause the paralysis of one side of the face, but it also may affect one’s sense of taste as well as tear and saliva production. You might have a metallic taste or have difficulty drinking.
2) What are the symptoms of Bell’s palsy? People who develop Bell’s palsy are often alarmed to find that they cannot smile or blink in one eye. Symptoms include drooling, a weakness or inability to move one side of the face or to close the eye on that side, excessively dry or teary eyes, the sense of sounds being louder than usual, the inability to taste, numbness on the affected side of the face, and painful sensations in or behind the ear. Other symptoms include neck pain, facial tingling, issues with chewing your food.
3) How can Bell’s palsy be treated? After medical professional has conducted a physical and neurological exam in order to properly diagnose one with Bell’s palsy, one may be given medication such as anti viral like prednisone, which tends to lower the risk of having long-term Bell’s palsy. But I want to stress that this is only if you have a virus. Most doctors will give you this medication anyway just to rule out that you don’t have it.
Surgery is also an option for long-term Bell’s palsy, though early surgery has not been found to be helpful or damaging. High-quality, reputable clinics will often use acupuncture plus laser therapy in addition to physical therapy, which can be a very successful combination.
However, there is a chance that the damage on the weakened or paralyzed side of the face can be permanent, so it is important to seek medical treatment right away if any symptoms appear.